Nature Field Note

What does this creature or plant look like?

In Venezuela, there are a lot of different types of snakes! One of the most interesting and important snakes is the Anaconda. Female anacondas can be up to 15 feet long and male anacondas can be up to 9 feet long! They are slim and have green and brown patterns on their body. They aren’t too slimy but I don’t like touching them! Do you like snakes? They terrify me!

How did I feel when I saw it?

When we went to the plains in Venezuela, they told us that part of our trip involved Anaconda hunting. Have you ever seen the movie Anaconda? It is a scary movie about these giant snakes!

Luckily, my experience was nothing like that! We drove around on the top of small buses, hanging on to the roof so that we wouldn’t fall off, instead of riding around in boats like in the movie. Have you ever ridden on the top of a vehicle? I don’t recommend it! It was scary!

When  we were looking for the Anaconda I was very nervous. Then, when the bus stopped and the guide waded into the waters to find it, I was even more scared! As we climbed down from the bus, all of a sudden the guide jumped back from the water and something sprang up around him. I was trembling and pacing. Have you ever ridden a rollercoaster that scared you? Do you remember waiting in the line for your turn? That is how I felt watching them catch the Anaconda. I knew we would have to touch it. Even though I was very nervous, I was determined to face my fear. When I saw it up close, I wanted to cry but I was also excited to hold it and take at least one picture!

Where does it live?

Anacondas can be found all over northern South America. In Venezuela, the month of March is the time for them to mate. They only can do this in shallow waters that don’t have many predators. Therefore, we found our anacondas in shallow ponds that had lots of water plants to protect and camouflage them.

How does it use its environment to survive?

The anaconda is covered in a simple brown, black and dark green pattern. They try and stay in areas with a lot of plants and dark colors to help camouflage them from their enemies.

Female Anacondas use the shallow waters in the mating season to help males find them. Did you know that many males can mate with one female? Anacondas also don’t lay eggs, they grow their babies inside them until they ready to be born! This is very different from other snakes. Maybe you can research how other snakes reproduce.

Anacondas also take advantage of the animals around them by eating them! Some anacondas can eat a baby cow! It takes them two months to digest animals that size! They also eat birds, baby capybaras, and other small animals around them.

What can harm this creature? Are we worried about it?

Humans and groups of capybaras are big predators to anacondas! Capybaras have large teeth and live in groups. This protects them and their babies from being swallowed by anacondas. This is a natural relationship and doesn’t endanger either group, it is only normal.

Humans that hunt anacondas are becoming a problem. Some farmers kill them to protect their livestock. However, some people kill Anacondas for fun and that is becoming a problem. Right now, there isn’t and real problem with low populations of anacondas and therefore we aren’t worried about them right now.

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